Saturday, 16 April 2016

How doing antonyms is a throwback to the 11 plus and the 1950s

Further on synonyms and antonyms - they were keen on 'opposites' in the 1950s. We would be given a word and asked to give its opposite. I can remember two that I couldn't do:


Now, given that I came from a home where both my parents were teachers, the house was full of books, we all read voraciously, both my parents quoted whole chunks of literature out loud, I was taken to the theatre regularly, the 'Home Service' was on in the house, and the house was full of political and literary types arguing over Malaya, Kenya, Suez, nationalisation's quite funny that a question on a pre-11plus paper (or the actual one, perhaps) was 'too hard' for me. That tells you that the story of examining is a long and awful one. It is the story and culture of people driven by a mania to grade children, invent tests that are full of bias and inconsistency, and which end up ruling over great swathes of educational practice.